School Counsellor
    What is counselling?

    Counselling gives young people a regular and confidential space to talk about worries or problems they are experiencing. Talking things through in a confidential setting, with regular appointments over a period of time can often help young people gain new and different perspectives. This can lead to changes in how they feel about themselves, their relationships with others, their thinking and their behaviour – both in and out of school.

    How does counselling work?

    Having thoughts, feelings and worries listened to, clarified or understood by someone who is not directly involved in problems or concerns can be hugely beneficial. Often, young people find that having a confidential setting and regular time to talk enables them to build a trusting relationship with which to understand themselves better or get further help in other places if they need it. Counselling can also enable young people to see alternative choices for moving forwards. Sometimes just ‘talking things through’ can help young people to feel clearer or more confident about something they had in mind already.

    What does a counsellor do?

    Counsellors are trained to listen and understand young people; to see things from their perspective. As well as listening, counsellors also help young people to clarify their problems or difficulties, see patterns in their relating, thinking and/or behaviour and support them in making positive changes if they wish. Counsellors do not give advice or tell young people what to do – instead they help young people to make their own choices to facilitate personal growth and self-awareness.

    What kind of things might a young person talk to a counsellor about?

    The issues are wide and varied. Some of these include: anxiety; exam stress; bullying; family; behaviour; relationships; bereavement; self-harm; depression; sexuality; divorce and separation.

    Is counselling confidential?

    Yes, however there are exceptional circumstances when confidentiality needs to be broken and the child protection policies of the school are followed. This is clearly explained to the young person at the start of any counselling relationship.

    Why is it so important that counselling sessions are kept confidential?

    In order for young people to feel completely safe and trust the counsellor to help them with their concerns, it is essential for confidentiality to be maintained. Confidentiality also supports young people when they want to change their behaviour or be completely honest about some of the more difficult feelings in life, such as sadness, anxiety, fear, shame or anger.

    When would confidentiality be broken?

    Confidentiality will be broken if the counsellor deems a young person at significant risk of harm to either themselves or others during the course of counselling. In these cases, the Counsellor will speak to the designated Child Protection officers at the school and agree the next steps, together with the young person (wherever possible). This could mean a referral onto other external services, informing parents/carers or other actions to ensure the care and safety of the young person. Counsellors, along with other professionals continue to balance young people’s rights with the duty of child protection and to act in the best interests of the young person.

    Who can make a referral for counselling?

    The Counselling Service is open to all young people at The Link Secondary School. Referral to the counselling service can be made by parents, carers, staff or the student can self-refer.

    The team

    Counselling at the Link Secondary School is delivered by Paul Martin. Paul studied at Roehampton University and achieved a BSc Hons in Counselling and Psychology and a MSc training in Counselling Psychology. Paul started his training with Relate in 2001 as a relationship counsellor and went on to complete his training as a child and young person (CYP) counsellor in 2006. He has also completed training with Youth Access, further training with Relate and recently completed a certificate in counselling skills with children/young people using the arts with The Institute for the Arts in Therapy and Education. He has worked in special educational needs schools for over 8 years. He started at the Link Secondary schools in 2013 and the Primary in 2014.

     

    Paul is a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and The British Psychological Society (BPS) and works within a recognised Code of Ethics and practice, that of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists and British Psychological Society. Paul is supervised by external supervisors.